Alums head internal medicine at 3 U.S. medical schools

Three U.S. medical schools can credit UT Southwestern with training their chairmen of internal medicine.

Two medical school graduates and a former resident have the distinction of being appointed heads of departments of medicine and will be serving in the posts at the same time. Dr. Thomas D. DuBose Jr., a former resident and fellow who completed training in 1977; Dr. Joe G.N. Garcia, class of 1980; and Dr. Joel Richter, class of 1975, are following in the footsteps of former UT Southwestern chairman of internal medicine Dr. Dan Foster, class of 1955, who was the school's first alumnus to head an internal medicine department.

Dr. DuBose is professor and chair of internal medicine and professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.

After receiving his medical degree from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Dr. DuBose completed his residency in internal medicine at Parkland Memorial Hospital in 1973, with training in nephrology. His research fellowship at UT Southwestern was with Drs. Juha P. Kokko and Donald W. Seldin, whom he credits as exemplary mentors in what he remembers as a very nurturing environment.

"My decision to pursue an academic career was probably most influenced by Dr. Donald Seldin," he said, referring to the former UT Southwestern chairman of internal medicine and present professor of internal medicine. "He influenced me more than anyone else, but there were a huge number of wonderful mentors there."

Dr. DuBose served as assistant professor of medicine at UT Southwestern, then the UT Health Science Center at Dallas, from 1977-1981 and served as chief of the division of nephrology from 1986-1991 at the UT Medical Branch in Galveston. He was chairman of internal medicine at the University of Kansas School of Medicine before assuming his position at Wake Forest nearly three years ago.

In November, he will serve as president of the American Society of Nephrology.

Dr. DuBose said he hopes UT Southwestern receives honor for having produced several chairmen of medicine nationwide. "It certainly honors me to have been a part of a very distinguished group of people who went through there."

Dr. Garcia assumes the position of chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine on May 1. He previously served as professor of medicine, biomedical engineering and environmental health science at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

After graduating from UT Southwestern, Dr. Garcia completed his internship and residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and his fellowship at Albany Medical College. He served as professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at the Indiana University School of Medicine before joining Johns Hopkins in 1998.

Dr. Garcia said UT Southwestern gave him a vision for his career in academic medicine.

"Being taught biochemistry by Nobel laureates only underscored the power and value of this discipline in the larger arena of academia," Dr. Garcia said. "I went to medical school without any physicians in my family and was largely interested in pursuing a career as a family practitioner. Only in an environment of excellence, which empowers one to push one's potential to the maximum, could I have achieved all the blessings that I enjoy at this time."

Dr. Richter is chair of the Department of Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine and Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. He formerly served at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, as professor of medicine, chairman of the Department of Gastroenterology and co-director of the Digestive Disease Center.

He completed his residency and fellowship at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Dr. Richter also served on the faculties of Bowman Gray School of Medicine in Winston-Salem and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He serves as co-editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Gastroenterology and past president of the American College of Gastroenterology and World Organization for Specialized Studies on Diseases of the Esophagus.

Looking back, Dr. Richter lists Dr. Dan Foster and Dr. Seldin as among the UT Southwestern faculty who were his role models.

"They gave us a very positive introduction to academic medicine and gave us the inclination to give it a try," he said.